Plain English - Fri, 21 Jun 2002
PLAIN ENGLISH - A WEEKLY UPDATE FROM BILL ENGLISH, NATIONAL PARTY LEADER
AN OLD-FASHIONED ELECTION
The election will turn into an old fashioned choice - Labour and Greens on the left and National, with Act as a supporting party, on the centre right. The 'phoney war' phase has concentrated on the Greens, but out on the road, the public want to hear about the big issues - education, the economy and law and order.
That's why I'm getting such a good response to talking about issues that matter to families, and I'll keep doing it.
My tour has pulled consistently good crowds and very good coverage in provincial media, and on commercial radio.
Concern about the Greens reflects concerns about MMP. National will rerun the MMP referendum before the 2005 election so voters get the chance to reject or confirm the system. That's the way to fix MMP.
Some National supporters are polling as supporting Labour, to keep the Greens outs. Labour are now talking about minority government, signalling they realise they can't make it on their own. So tactical voters have a choice - vote for National for the policies they support, or vote for Labour for the policies they oppose - and why would you want to do that?
Our research confirms a significant proportion of Labour supporters support National's plans to reduce business taxes for growth, tougher sentences, resolving Treaty claims, and running a modern education system. We just need to persuade them to vote for the policies they support!
Labour has decided the strike isn't hurting their polling, so they don't need to resolve it. This means that 250,000 secondary students face industrial action for the rest of the year. Teachers I've talked to have hardened their attitude even further in the last few weeks.
This week I put forward a proposal to settle the dispute. National is willing to put significant money on the table to get flexibility, performance and quality. Teachers need a more professional pay system.
ON THE ROAD
This week I've been to the places the national media don't reach - Ruatoria, Wairoa, Gore, Kaikohe, Invercargill, Gisborne as well as Papakura and Pukekohe. I enjoy the grass-roots campaigns because it's so immediate and unpredictable. I've been meeting the New Zealanders I talk about - too many of them earn between $9-$13 an hour, and some are raising families on it. That's why we can't be complacent about the economy. They need vigorous growth, so their incomes can rise. 2.5% growth isn't enough.
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